Starting a New Church in an Old Neighborhood

By Brent Christian

My family and I have lived in the Ruby Hill neighborhood for almost two years, and still to this day we get the blank stare when telling people where we live. Why? Because most people in the Denver Metro area haven’t heard of Ruby Hill and have no idea where it is located. This will change in the next two years. The City of Denver is committed to seeing Ruby Hill Park and the surrounding neighborhood become a known resource for the diverse people that call Denver home.

Ruby Hill Neighborhood was one of the first suburbs of Denver established in the early 1950s. It has since been re-classified as urban. What used to be a majority white neighborhood is now home to a diverse population of Latino, Asian, and White Denverites. Take our street for example: we have families that only speak Spanish, young white millennial families, middle age white families, and multiple affordable housing units that house a vast diversity of people including transitional housing for the homeless in our city. The neighborhood is also home to a thriving Asian community. This diversity is also reflected in the abundance of amazing food within walking distance of our home - some of the best pho, tacos, banh-mi, and Latino and Asian markets in the City of Denver.

And yet in the midst of all of this beautiful diversity there is brokenness. Gang violence is still a reality. We hear gun-shots on a regular basis and there have been multiple homicides in the surrounding area during our two years in the neighborhood. Street racing is a normal Sunday evening occurrence, and it seems that the Denver Police helicopter roams the sky above our home every evening. And Jesus calls us to go and make disciples of all people! As Denver has become the city to plant a church, there is a void of church planters willing to come to Ruby Hill. And while there are older churches serving people in our neighborhood, there is still a great need for new churches to serve and love the un-churched, those who don’t have a church family to call home. And so God has called my family to start the work of planting a church in our neighborhood that serves diverse un-churched people. We are calling this church RiSo Church to reflect the geography of where we live and serve.

As we have been praying and walking our neighborhood the three words that continue to come to mind are: neighborhood, grace, and celebration. This is what RiSo Church will exist for - to love our neighbors and our neighborhood, to introduce people to the grace of God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and to celebrate together what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in RiSo. During this next season our primary focus is on loving the people in Ruby Hill by serving them, hanging out with them, and inviting them to participate in seeing God’s people in action. We believe that God wants to call many of the un-churched in RiSo to himself, and we hope to play a small role in joining God in what he is already doing in our neighborhood.

In the coming months we will be hosting info meetings for RiSo Church. If you are interested in learning more about the vision, values, and strategy of RiSo Church I invite you to attend one of these meetings: (Please RSVP by email to brent@risochurch.com)

•   February 19th - 12:30pm at Wellspring Englewood in the Conference Room :: Lunch provided

•   March 12th - 12:00pm at Wellspring Littleton :: Lunch provided

•   March 26th - 12:30pm at Wellspring Englewood in the Conference Room :: Lunch provided 

•   May 21st - 1:00pm at the Christian’s Home (1249 S. Quivas St 80223) - We will have a BBQ lunch and then we will walk the neighborhood (all ages welcome).

We’re excited to partner with the Wellspring community in this new work and would ask you to be praying for us. But I would also encourage you to be praying for your role in this church plant; perhaps God is calling you to join us in loving and serving the un-churched in RiSo? If so, I would love to meet with you and share more about RiSo Church and our neighborhood. We could grab an amazing taco, or a banh-mi sandwich from Vinh Xuong Bakery- your choice!